The Left

No Consequences!?

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III; born January 12, 1951, is an American radio talk show host, conservative political commentator, and an opinion leader in American conservatism. | Photo: EIB Network | Rush Limbaugh, Ditto, Conservative, Radio, Extreme, Leather,

How dare women have sex with no pregnancy?

I wouldn't have thought the defeat of Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia's gubernatorial race this year needed much explanation.

Abortion rights are still popular with many people; Cuccinelli was against them. Gay rights are popular too; Cuccinelli proposed reviving Virginia's anti-sodomy laws.

Rush Limbaugh, however, had a different take: Women want a nanny state that will take care of them and the strong, principled Republicans won't give it to them! Unlike the high-minded, chaste Repubs, the Democratic Party promises women "all the sex without consequences they wanted."

OMG, the horrors! What kind of fiends are the Dems to support women having sex without consequences? Don't they know that's a man's prerogative? Imagine the living hell those women go through, not worrying that they're going to end up with a child they don't want or can't afford!

Wait ' that actually sounds like a good thing. In fact women having the option to decide how many kids they have and when is an excellent thing.

Not for women who don't want the option, of course. If a woman prefers to leave conception up to God or chance, that's between her, her partner and God. I've read accounts by women for whom sex is better when a baby's a possibility because it makes them conscious of life, of the specialness of sex, of leaving things in God's hands. For them, it's beautiful that way.

The problem is, some people seem to think that women who don't feel that way about sex are doing it wrong. Women who want sex but no baby are misguided, acting contrary to nature; denying them the right to make that decision is for their own good.

Other pro-consequences activists are more judgmental, ready to condemn any woman who thinks she's entitled to a premarital sex life "without consequences." In this line of thought, women would never use birth control if they weren't sluts, and irresponsible sluts to boot; responsible, virtuous women just give up sex if they don't want to get pregnant. Plus the sluts are selfish bitches for refusing to share their lives with children (how can you be selfish toward someone who doesn't exist yet? Don't ask).

Just the use of the phrase "without consequences" is telling, as if not risking pregnancy is somehow cheating justice. As if single women having sex is hideously, horribly wrong. Even though all kinds of women'married, conservative, religious, stay-at-home moms'use birth control and get abortions, the "sex must have consequences" wing prefer to portray them as drunken partying sluts jumping from penis to penis and chugging emergency contraception so they can do it Without Consequences.

Of course a lot of religious conservatives think exactly that. Consider, for example, Senator Bill Napoli of South Dakota, who said a few years back that he'd support abortion for rape victims as long as they were virgins and pledged to stay chaste until marriage. Apparently he saw other victims as sluts who had it coming.

Or Republican politician Todd Smith, who said in 2012 that having your daughter get pregnant out of wedlock was just as traumatic as if she'd been raped. Or the religious blogger who said in 2013 that women who have sex before marriage are adulterers: they're cheating on their future husband even if they haven't met him yet. Or the opponents of the HPV vaccine who argued reduced risk of disease might encourage women to have more sex.

Or consider the anti-sex view of some abstinence-only classes. Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart said one reason she didn't escape sooner was that her abstinence-only classes taught her that a sexually active unmarried woman was as worthless as used chewing gum. After being raped, Smart figured she was used gum; as she'd become a filthy slut there wasn't much point trying to escape (the classes skipped over trivialities like consent).

Small wonder that even though anti-abortion groups talk about how abortion is a second Holocaust, they don't suggest birth control as a solution (though I know individual right-to-lifers who do). After all, if women used birth control, they'd still be having sex and getting away with it, "without consequences." What sort of solution would that be?

Whatever you can say about Rush Limbaugh, there's no question he knows his audience.

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Updated May 10, 2017 9:58 AM EDT | More details

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